Marwa Sharafeldin is a scholar activist based in Egypt. Her research and work lies in the intersection between Islamic law, international human rights law and feminist activism in the Muslim world.
She holds a PhD from Oxford University, Law Faculty’s Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. Her doctorate examined how Islamic law and human rights discourses interact in the work of family law reformers in Egypt to produce interesting new reform propositions, which sometimes conflict with one another when it comes to gender equality. It explores how activists’ own beliefs and positions in Muslim contexts affect the reform process, as they attempt to stretch the current limits of Shari‘a, and appropriate human rights to suit the local context. Marwa plans to complete the work of turning her doctoral dissertation into a book manuscript under this Fellowship.
Marwa’s research was supported by the Arab Council for Social Sciences, the Arab Families Working Group, the Citadel Foundation, El Masry Foundation, the BRISMES / Abdullah Mubarak Foundation, and the Light Senior Award of Saint Catherine’s College in Oxford University.
Her publications include: “Islamic Law Meets Human Rights: Reformulating Qiwama and Wilaya for Personal Status Law Reform Advocacy in Egypt”; “Gender and Equality in Muslim Family Law” and “Challenges of Islamic Feminism for Personal Status Law Reform”. She has an upcoming co-authored book chapter entitled “Muslim Family Law: Trajectories of Reform”.
Marwa’s work on the ground involves supporting governmental and non-governmental agencies globally in their work on gender justice and equality, including Muslim family law reforms. She co-founded and worked with several feminist organizations and networks in Egypt, the Arab world and globally. She served on the Board of Musawah, the global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family, and works on its capacity and knowledge building activities worldwide. She also serves on the UN’s various Expert Advisory Boards that produced the 2019 Progress of the World’s Women Report on the Family, and the 2019 Gender Justice and the Law Arab Regional Report.